I guess I am dating myself by saying the only option out there when I first started pumping was the Medela “basic” breast pump, and I was not even aware that I could get one through my insurance. It’s amazing that there are so many breast pump options available now to accommodate both stay-at-home moms and working moms, and the huge plus of it all, they are covered by insurance!
I was given a Medela breast pump by my sister-in-law who never used hers. Holding the flanges on and feeling tied down to my pump was emotionally and physically exhausting. I had a really hard time pumping and nursing with my first baby (he was in the NICU at first) because I was not fully educated, and I was told to pump every hour around the clock by a nurse, which lead to an overproduction and borderline mastitis! I gave up, which is so disheartening to a mom, especially a first-time mom.
The life-changing pumping accessory
Fast forward two years later, when my second baby was born. A friend told me about a hands-free pumping bra and how much it changed her life when she pumped, and wow, changing my life while pumping was an understatement! According to undercovermama.com:
“If you’re pumping more than once a day, a hands-free bra can be life-changing. Instead of holding the breast shields up for 15 minutes or more, you’re free to work on a laptop, read a book, or eat dinner while you pump!”
Especially after having my second with a toddler in tow, being able to multitask was so important; sitting with him and reading him a book while I pumped, holding my newborn while pumping extra milk, or being able to hold my phone in the middle of the night to binge watch Greys Anatomy on Netflix. This was life changing! I ended up purchasing two more of the hands-free bras because I used them so much, and I could barely keep up with washing them. And, you know what else? It helped me avoid spilling breast milk, and we all know how we cry over spilled milk…literally!
Another benefit about being hands-free was the ability to pump in the car while my husband was driving as we were on our way out to our first date night. Hands-free pumping bra, pumping cover, and I was ready to go! I had finished my pumping session by the time we got to the restaurant!
Pumps have become more portable, too
I’m not sure if moms these days are aware of all the portable breast pump options available to them (I had to plug my pump in and be tied to it most of the time). For example, there are many portable options that have built-in rechargeable batteries and using one of those pumps, along with a hands-free bra, completely sets you up for success! Did you know there are even a couple wearable pump options that can go right into a nursing bra, making the entire pumping session completely hands-free?! For example, the Elvie breast pump is the world’s first silent wearable breast pump that fits in to your bra with no tubes, wires, or noise. This pump also automatically switches from stimulation into expression mode when it detects let-down and will pause when the bottle is full.
Looking back, I wish I was aware of these essential items to help make pumping easier. No one tells you about the difficult things that come along with an amazing bundle of joy. I can truly say that one of the hardest things for me, other than no sleep, was learning how to nurse and pump to the best of my ability. I only pumped for five weeks with my first baby, but with my second, eight months. A lot of this had to do with not only how much more I was learning about nursing and pumping, but the fact that I could be hands-free! The possibilities about what I could do while using the hands-free bra were endless. Also, before I started using the bra, I would time sessions and become bored, anxiously waiting for the 15 minutes to be up. Being hands-free, I would sometimes lose track of time and pump a little more, which was great for my milk supply!
These little things to make pumping and nursing easier when you are adjusting to be a first-time mom, or maybe a second or third-time mom, are essential in being a happy and more relaxed mama!
Guest Post Written by Shelby McLaughlin, mama of two.